AN: My muse wanted Daniel, and Vala, and formal ware, and dancing. This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think :o)
As always thanks to Annedith for the Beta, you're awesome
Daniel looked on as Vala was swept onto the Dance floor by yet another man. She had been gliding over the floor like a princess all night, the arms of other men wrapped around her. From the first time he had seen her tonight she had looked like a princess, in her gown of midnight blue with her long hair resting in lose curls down her back she looked more beautiful than he could ever remember.
As he lifted his glass to his lips Daniel wondered where she had learned to dance like that. He always marvelled at how well she blended into any environment but there was something different about her tonight. She looked like she truly belonged in this glittering world of jewels and ball gowns. It was another question mark on her past that he knew he would never find the answer to, she so rarely talked about her life before she became a host.
His gaze followed her as the song finished and she stood talking to the man. She smiled gently at something he said but when he reached out to brush a stray curl out of her face she ducked her head away from him, brushing his hand out of the way. Some more words passed between them and the man nodded and with a defeated look on his face he turned away. Her smile momentarily fell from her face and a shadow darkened it but it passed, or she hid it well, as yet another man asked for a dance and her smile returned.
If Daniel had been closer he would have seen that her smile hadn't reached her eyes all night.
Daniel turned away from the scene in front of him and motioned to the bar tender for another drink. Someone slipped into the seat beside him but he didn't look up.
"You actually going to ask her to dance at some point tonight or you just going to sit here and sulk?" It was Cam, and from the sound of it this was not his first trip to the bar. "You do know how to dance, don't you?" When he got no reaction he simply continued on, "She's been looking for you all night, too proud to just come over and ask you. "
Daniel scoffed "Vala's never been too proud before."
"She's still a woman, and who knows how their minds work" Cam slapped his hand onto Daniel's back, "Just go and ask her. What's the worst that can happen?"
With that he was gone, back in to the swarming crowds of people.
Daniel finished up his drink as he thought about Cam's words. As much as he hated to admit it his friend was right, Vala had been chasing after him in one form or another for years but she was always waiting for him to make the first real move. She chased him, not so as she could catch him, but so as he would catch her.
Gathering his courage, caused mostly by 3 glasses of good Gin and Tonic, he turned away from the bar and made his way towards where he had last seen her, telling himself over and over again that now was his chance. Standing on the edge of the dance floor he scanned the crowed for her but he could not see her anywhere.
Sam came to stand next to him and with out a word she pointed to the large balcony before giving him a soft smile and continuing on her way.
Vala stood on the balcony looking out at the D.C skyline, the joyful sounds from the ballroom filtering out behind her and a half full glass of champagne placed on the rail in front of her.
Memories from her childhood of other nights like this passed before her eyes and a smile graced her lips as she thought of those happy times in her mothers' house, full of laughter and music and dancing. Those times had been the happiest of her life. She had lived in that world until her mother died when she was 15 and she was sent to live with her father and Adria.
There was no laughter after that.
As her memories turned to more sour moments Vala felt something twist in her chest. Thinking of her mother always stirred a multitude of emotions in her but the main one was always anger, quickly followed by guilt. Anger at the way her life had turned out, if her mother had never died she would have stayed in the life she was born too and so much would never have happened, she would never had become a host or a thief, she would never have had to do the things she had done to survive. But always when the anger reached its height guilt would bring it down, her mothers death was something no one could have prevented, and she certainly wasn't to blame for what had happened after.
The music behind her changed to something that was almost so familiar it broke the last of her defences and tears welled in her eyes as she remembered dancing to it with such carelessness and joy, as she remembered whom she had danced with. She closed her eyes tightly to prevent the tears from falling, she had shed to many in her life already.
A soft touch to her bare shoulder brought her back to reality and she turned to see Daniel standing before her, his brow crinkling with concern as he saw her unshed tears. Tenderly he drew her into his embrace and he felt her take a deep, calming, breath as she leant her head against his chest.
"What's wrong, Vala?" He questioned gently, running his hand down the length of her hair, barely touching it for fear of ruining her perfect curls.
She didn't answer him, only allowing herself to melt fully into his arms and revel in the safety she found there.
He allowed her a few minutes before he asked her again, "Please Vala, what's wrong?"
She sighed and pulled away from him, turning her back on him, "I was just thinking about a boy I used to dance with when I was young." She told him in a small voice.
The frown on Daniels face turned from one of confusion to one of irritation. If she had been looking for him all night why was she out here thinking about another man. 'Boy' a voice in the back of his mind corrected him. It didn't make sense, was she being honest with him or was this just another of her ploys? She had seemed genuinely upset but Vala never gave anything away as simply as she just had.
"He had such wonderful eyes, so dark and beautiful. But there was a light in them…" She trailed off, once again lost in her own thoughts.
When he spoke next Daniel wanted to believe it was the alcohol that caused his harsh tone but part of him knew it was jealousy, "Did you love him?"
"Very much." Her voice was filled with regret and if she noticed Daniels tone she didn't comment on it.
Was this the man she had mentioned so long ago, the man she said she was going to marry? He hadn't believed her then but it would be just like her to pass something serious off as a joke. "What happened to him?"
She bowed her head and her words where almost a whisper when she spoke, "I think he died for me."
Daniel stood paralyzed by her words and he felt his jealousy melt at her words and at her tone. When he heard the small noise of her tears hitting the stone rail she was leaning on he closed the distance she had created between them and gently wrapped an arm around her waist. When she didn't pull away from him again he placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head and waited for her to continue, knowing that pushing her was futile.
"It was the winter after my mother died, and I was leaving to go live with my father." Her words came slowly at first but as she became lost in the tale they came more naturally, "He was ill, he wasn't supposed to leave his bed but when he heard I was leaving, he came to the house. He threw stones at my windows until I came down to him and there he was, standing in the snow shivering. I tried to tell him to go back home but he wouldn't listen. He said if I was leaving he didn't want to live." She paused for a moment to get her voice under control, "I got news a few weeks later that he had died."
She turned in his arms and cried into his chest, the white shirt of his tux soon becoming damp with her tears.
Daniel held her close, still unsure of his own feelings. So the man she had told him about before had been real and he had died for her. He tried to imagine Vala as a young girl, youthful and innocent, full of hope and happiness. The traitorous thought rose in his head that the girl this man had died for no longer existed, that she too had died.
His fingers ghosted down her back as he pictured a young man standing in a garden filled with snow. Slowly the imaged began to change, the snow became sand and the young man became Sha're. As he stared into the eyes of his dead wife his feelings solidified into something he could recognize. He too had died for a woman he loved, or at least part of him had. But as he felt the smooth skin under his fingers he knew that his love for Vala had brought a different part him back to life.
After a while he felt Vala compose herself and he loosened his grip on her enough to produce, and offer her, the handkerchief from his pocket. She smiled up at him with watery eyes as she wiped away the rest of her tears, sniffed and dabbed at the wet patch on his shirt.
The music from the ballroom behind them was softer now as the night began to draw to a close.
Daniel gently clasped her hand and, taking a small step back from her, he gave her a small bow, hoping she understood his intentions. He grinned as he noticed Vala blush gently before she curtsied in response. He kissed the back of her hand before bringing her close and they began to dance.
As they danced their gaze never left the other's eyes and Daniel slowly saw the sadness drain from her as it was replaced by a growing glow he couldn't remember seeing their before. By the time the music ended there was pure joy in Vala's eyes and a smile lit up her face.
Daniel smiled along with her and then leaned in and placed a chaste kiss to her lips.
He knew he would do no more than that tonight. He wanted so desperately to tell her that he loved her but he knew now was not the time, that it should be saved for a night untainted by past regrets and lost loves. The time would come and he would do it properly but for the moment he could wait. This was a marathon not a sprint.
He gave her another small kiss before pulling away and beginning their dance again.
Sam and Cam stood in the doorway looking at the couple lost in their own world. As quietly as possible they closed the doors over and walked away.
"You saw him kiss her, right?" Cam asked, his tone hopeful.
"Yeah…" Sam was sure Cam hadn't had that much to drink.
"Good, Teal'c owes me 20 bucks. Come on, you're my witness." He stalked off towards the bar, not noticing that she didn't follow him right away.
Sam sighed. Well, at least Daniel was taken care of. She gave one look back toward the closed doors before following Cam.
It was hard work keeping the guys of SG1 in line, but someone had to do it.